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Stormy Daniels' attorney predicts Trump will not finish his term

09 May 2018
Stormy Daniels' attorney predicts Trump will not finish his term

The bombshell in the report spotlighted $500,000 paid by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, with close ties to Russia's authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin, after the election.

The source of the allegations is Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels (nee Stephanie Clifford) in her dispute with Cohen and Trump.

"Mr Trump and Mr Cohen have a lot of explaining to do", he wrote, adding a link to a site where the public could view a summary of his findings.

According to court documents, prosecutors said at least part of that inquiry stemmed from a referral from Mueller's office.

This is one of the newest developments in Mueller's investigation into Russian dealings.

Vekselberg, an ally of Vladimir Putin's, directed eight payments to Cohen totaling almost $500,000 between January 2017 and August 2017, according to Avenatti.

It said Novartis Investments S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant Novartis, made four payments of $99,980 each to Cohen's company between October and January.

Avenatti alleged that Essential Consultants, a shell company set up by Cohen before the election to pay Daniels, was paid by several corporations, including AT&T. Michael Avenatti alleged that Cohen received half a million dollars from a company affiliated with Vekselberg in the months after the presidential election.

AT&T, based in Dallas, made four payments of $50,000 apiece around the end of past year, according to Avenatti. Giuliani said that since no Trump campaign funds were used for what was a standard nondisclosure agreement by a lawyer for a client there was no violation of that law.

AT&T confirmed the payments in a statement to CNN. CNN has not independently authenticated the documents. As the New York Times reported last week, "Federal agents working with Mr. Mueller stopped Mr. Vekselberg, a billionaire businessman, at a New York-area airport this year, searched his electronic devices and questioned him, according to people familiar with the matter". The sanctions freeze Vekselberg's USA assets, bar him or Renova from using the United States banking system, and prohibit Americans from doing business with him. Intrater was also interviewed by the special counsel's team, according to sources. Last month, Vekselberg was placed on the USA government's list of sanctioned individuals, prohibiting him from traveling to the US.

But the timing of payments to a Trump lawyer is especially significant because of the AT&T-Time Warner deal.

"He was paid by Donald Trump's personal funds". The president replied: "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen".

Avenatti says that Vekselberg and his cousin Andrew Intrater, the CEO of the American subsidiary of Vekselberg's company, Renova, routed the money to Cohen through an entity called Columbus LLC. An attorney for Vekselberg did not respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives for his company in Russian Federation.